Cancer, a Short Story
Cancer SUCKS. I guess that’s rather stating the obvious, but still; it blows. I was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2016—two years ago. I had a tumor in my tongue. I was lucky: the tumor was small and the cancer hadn’t spread. I had an operation to remove the tumor—and part of my tongue (roughly about an eighth by my estimates)—called a partial glossectomy. Afterward, as you can imagine, I was in a shit-ton (I believe that’s the technical term) of pain, which lasted two weeks. Two or three weeks later I had a second operation called a selective neck dissection—that’s where they slice your neck open, remove and test some questionable lymph nodes to check for cancer spread. This was simply to confirm that there had been no spread, and even though part of my neck and chin is permanently numb, I’m glad I had the operation. Plus I have a really cool scar.
About a month after this second operation, was my birthday, and I had a lovely day. It was October by that time, and my husband and I went pumpkin picking in Half Moon Bay. We got lost in in a huge hay bale maze (Arata’s Pumpkin Farm), enjoyed blue skies and warm weather, and had a lovely day in general. That was my last happy day for two full months.
Back in the real world, our twelve-and-a-half-year-old pug was sick, and he wasn’t getting any better. He had his final vet visit one week after my birthday, and one week before I started radiation. I still miss him. The six weeks of radiation was to ensure that there was no spread of the cancer—to kill off anything that might be lingering. Hit it over the head with a fucking hammer. Radiation on any part of the body isn’t fun, but on the head, face or neck area, it’s especially awful. I developed large white sores on my lips and tongue, and couldn’t eat anything solid for about four weeks. I was both hungry and in pain all the time. I had a feeding tube “installed” but that was a disaster, so I just drank as much water and Orgain plant-based protein shakes as I could get down. I lost fifteen pounds in those six weeks—that was the only positive thing about cancer treatment! Well, that and it toughed me up to a degree. Now I don’t sweat the small stuff; I just don’t. I have chronic nerve pain in my tongue (the tumor was backed up against the lingual nerve) and I’m on several medications for both pain and stiffness—but I’m not complaining. I’m grateful for everything and anything in my life right now. I dodged a bullet; for now at least. My cancer could come back, and while my lifestyle is healthier now that it was before, it still could use some improvements. That’s where macrobiotics comes in; but I’ll leave that topic for another day. For now, let’s just say I’m a work in progress. But then... aren’t we all?